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Tuesday, 7 April 1998
Page: 2718

Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, upon notice, on 2 March 1998:

(1) What was the rate of growth in traineeships in percentage terms in 1996-97 compared with 1995-96.

(2) Do successive Budget papers show that the Government has reduced expenditure on vocational and industry training and vocational education and training outlays and grants by approximately $270 million.

(3) Is it a fact that within 20 months of March 1996 the number of 15 to 24 year-olds in full-time employment had dropped by approximately 73 000 and that 300 000 persons in the age group were seeking employment.

Dr Kemp (Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs;Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) While the total number of traineeship commencements continues to increase, the growth rate in traineeships has declined from around 115 percent in 1995-96 to around 47 percent in 1996-97. The decline in growth rate, however, should not be overstated as the starting point in these comparisons is the relative low figure of around 17 000 traineeship commencements in 1994-95.

(2) No. Over the past three years outlays on vocational education and training have increased by 11.9 percent or $144 million. Budgeted outlays for vocational education and training total $1,354,846,000 in 1997-98 compared with outcomes in 1995-96 of $1,210,602,000.

(3) No. As data on full-time employment for persons aged 15 to 24 years are available only in original terms it is important to examine changes over a time period which is not affected by seasonal factors. A comparison of data for January 1996 and January 1998 (the most recent data available) which eliminates seasonal distortions shows that over this two year period the number of full-time employed persons in this age group declined by 73 000. Total employment for this age group declined by 41 300 over the same time period. In November 1997 (20 months after March 1996) there were 276 800 unemployed persons aged 15 to 24 years. The level of full-time unemployment was considerably lower than total unemployment, at 188 500 in the same month.